five on friday

(1) This is another excellent article I found making the facebook rounds.  I think her description of a day as a stay-at-home-mom is spot on.  And I love the point she makes about asking specific questions.

(2) We went to a church activity on Saturday and had our picture taken in the photo booth.  I love this shot because both girls seem a little unsure/embarrassed of their parents.  Sorry girls, you're stuck with us!

(3) This week as we were leaving the grocery store the cashier said goodbye to Mattie, who smiled and gave a little hand bob.  We've been practicing waving, and she'll often wave back at us, but this was the first time she waved at a stranger unprompted.  Of course Jilly and I cheered and celebrated as if we'd just won a free trip to Hawaii.  

(4) While we're on the subject of grocery stores, on another exciting grocery excursion this week Jilly twirled through the entire store yell-singing "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"  No doubt the other patrons were sad to see their free concert end when we finally left the store.

(5) Poor little Mattie was blasted with a cold this week.  Her mission for the past 48 hours has been to cover as much of my body as possible with her snot.  And she's been quite successful.  I gave her a little bit of tylenol and she sucked every sweet drop of the cherry elixir then carried the dropper around for a while hoping for more.  My little druggie.  



For Christmas this year I made fabric pennant banners for some of my family and friends.  I wanted to add letters and chose Celebrate since it is multi-functional.  I ended up making eight banners, so I came up with a few helpful shortcuts along the way.  

1. Cut your letters out of felt.  I used my cricut to cut letters on cardstock then used these letters as patterns.  I cut out all my letters during our road trip to Utah and it was an excellent way to avoid watching ugly, ugly Nevada creep by.

2. Cut out fabric triangles.  I gathered my fabric- some pieces I already had and some that were new- then started cutting triangles using a pattern I made.  My triangles have a base of 8 inches and height of 10 inches.  Shortcut #1: Cut with pinking shears.  I was originally planning on sewing two triangles together for each letter but that would have taken way too long (and twice as much fabric.)  Cutting with pinking shears looks cute and assures they won't fray.

3. Attach letters to triangles.  Shortcut #2: Hot glue letters onto fabric.  Felt stretches and can be a huge pain to sew so I hot glued them all in place first.  Make sure you only hot glue in the center of the letter though because a sewing machine + hot glue = disaster (I know from frustrating experience.)

4. Top stitch around letters.  This took some time, but I think it makes a big difference.  E's were a lot of fun, B's were a pain.

5. Attach banner together with ribbon.  Again, hot glue gun to the rescue.  I found a method that really worked for me: Spread hot glue along the edge of the ribbon, then attach it to the top of the first triangle with a little (about 1/2 inch) fabric border on the top.  Then turn the ribbon/triangle over and squeeze another line of hot glue on the edge of the ribbon, this time overlapping a little bit (about 1 1/2 inches) on the back of the first triangle.  Attach the second triangle and repeat for all the rest.  

6. Top stitch over the ribbon:  Since I only hot glued along the bottom edge of the ribbon I could sew along the top edge.  And Voila!  Hang and Celebrate!!

 (photo credits to Lisa, who offered to use her fancy new lens for me, thanks friend!)


five on friday

one- On Wednesday we made a trip down to San Jose to see Lisa, Blake, & Miles.  We were spoiled with delicious food and excellent company; we love those Schaders!

(photo credit to Lisa)

two- While we're on the subject of Jilly's boyfriends, she was playing at her friend Clark's house this week and my friend overheard them talking.  Clark- "We need to be married to kiss on the lips" Jilly- "Well I'm wearing a dress, we can get married."  Katie ran in and caught the newly married couple about to kiss.  So, my three year old eloped this week to have her first kiss.  What next?

three- Mattie is in the puppy stage.  Her favorite things include chasing us around the house, trying to get to the toilet water, and chewing on shoes (more specifically, Jilly's leopard flats, which are her special favorites and probably the yuckiest shoes in the house.)  

(photo credit to Lisa, and this picture makes me think it is high time for her first haircut)

four- This week we've been all about afternoon walks while we wait for Dad to get home.  It's fun to watch my babies pack up their babies to take outside with us.

five- Jilly and I put up our Valentine's Decor this week and when we got out the box of decorations we found some American flags inside.  Jilly led me in an impromptu cheer where we lifted flags up high in the air and yelled "Decorations!"  I swear, she is more like me every day (scary!)

Happy Weekend Friends!


Jilly's favorite books

For a solid 8 months last year Jilly would only accept princess stories for her going-to-bed-books.  We have the little golden books of most Disney stories and I'm no princess hater but they got old quick.  Bryan and I can recite Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty in our sleep.

Thankfully, this phase ended about a month ago and we are enjoying a little bit of variety these days.  Here are some of her latest favorites:

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann.  My mom gave the girls this set for Christmas and a few days later I found a quiet Jilly sitting in her room reading them all by herself (miracle!)  I think Jilly has found a kindred spirit in Pinkalicious.  We read at least one every night, and because I'm sure you're wondering, Pinkalicious is my favorite, Silverlicious is my least favorite.

Life-Size Books by Teruyuki Komiya.  These books are awesome.  I'm pretty sure every child in the whole wide world is fascinated by animals, and these books are full of cool life-sized pictures of wild animals.  We don't own any of the books, and you can't request them at our library (maybe because they're so big?) so we check every time to see if one is available.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle.  We got this for Christmas a couple years ago and it is very, very well-loved.  So well-loved that the book is now in three pieces.  We also love Panda Bear, Panda Bear What Do You See and Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You See.   Jilly especially loves the last page of each book that has all the animals together; she always tries to say all their names in one breath.

Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams.  I must admit, I love that Jilly loves this cute book.  Each page has something to count from the original book.  Our favorite is Nine Fancy Ball Gowns- Jilly assigns each dress to a person she knows then says "And daddy wears a shirt and tie!"  We haven't read any of the other BabyLit books, but I'm sure we'd love them also.

Jilly's 2012 favorites here.  What are your kids' favorite books?  We're always on the prowl for new reading material.


friday four

1. It may be because I was desperate for a good book after lots of blah, or because Bryan was gone for a night last weekend so I spent many hours in bed reading but I LOVED What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  I finished in four days (something I haven't done in a long, long time) and loved every minute of it.  Go read it.

2. This "winter" has been one eternal day of sunshine and warm temperatures.  While it hasn't been great for California's drought situation, it has been great for us.  My girls will be devastated if the weather ever changes.

3. We had preschool at our house this week.  We did O is for Owls, Oceans, and Octopuses and had a great time.  These kids are so cute and learning so much.

4. Jillian is sweet and darling and fun. . . until she's not.  And then she drives me batty.  This was a batty week.  We fought over doing her hair, getting dressed (and I have low standards- she went to the grocery store in her nightgown and slippers this week), sharing with Mattie, cleaning up toys, being quiet while Mattie is sleeping, not eating snacks all day, etc. etc.  My patience was tested over and over again, and I'm afraid I didn't always pass.  So, here's to a happy weekend and a better week with a nicer mom.


Mattie: eight months

At Eight Months Mattie:
- loves to eat, she definitely has preferences but she'll eat just about anything and has been known to dive bomb at you if you have something she wants
- is happy and smiley, one of her favorite parts of the week is church when she can play with all the people sitting in the pews behind us
- crawls all over, but thankfully hasn't noticed the stairs yet
- loves taking baths with her sister
- gets a little feisty when you try to take away something she wants
- loves baby dolls, her eyes light up when she sees one (naturally I think this is the absolute cutest thing ever)


never grow up

I was teasing Bryan about his Christmas gifts- among other things he received a remote-controlled airplane, bike stuff, and a nerf gun.  I told him they were probably the same gifts he got when he was 8 years old.  So he asked me what presents I used to get and I told him dolls and Barbies.  He asked what I did with them.  I would dress them, do their hair, then have them go to parties and get married and have babies.  He said, "So you never grew up either!"

On Christmas Eve we had family pictures taken with Bryan's family and we also got a few of just our family.  I am thrilled with how they turned out.


five on friday

1. I loved this article that's been going around facebook.  I am not the best housekeeper (there are many many many things I'd rather do than scrub my kitchen floor) but this made me want to be better.

2. TOTW (Tricks of the Week) - Mattie has mastered clapping and Jilly is finally successful at dressing herself (though clothes are frequently on backwards.)  This has increased Jilly's daily outfit changes by tenfold.  She was so, so proud to surprise me with her full Cinderella ensemble- dress, purse, and glass slippers.

3. Late on Tuesday afternoon I sat down to start our 2013 Family Photo Book.  On Shutterfly I saw that there was a 50% off books deal that ended that day.  So, I spent the entire evening putting our book together and ordered it at 11:58pm.  Phew.

4. Mattie learning to stand up has thrown quite the wrench into our sleeping routine.  Nearly every time I put her in bed she immediately pulls herself up and cries and cries to be let out.  Once when I went to get her she looked right at me and said "ma ma ma" and I melted and swore never to put her back in that cell (. . .until it was time for her next nap.)
"saaaaave me!"

5. Our Chick-fil-A was doing free breakfast this whole week and we went twice.  We probably would have gone more if I had found out about it before Wednesday afternoon.  Ridiculous? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.
Wanted to leave you with a happier picture of Mattie.  Happy Weekend!!


diy Headband/Jewelry Holder

After I mentioned the jewelry holder I made for Jilly, a couple people asked how I made it so I thought I'd share.  These are easy peasy and fairly cheap- probably why I've made three now!

You need:
piece of wood (they have pre-cut pieces at Home Depot/Lowe's, I've gotten a different size every time, but Jilly's was 3.5 in. wide and 20 in. long and cost $1.50)
hooks (I got a big package a while ago at Walmart in the hardware section, can't remember how much it was, these are similar but I think mine were cheaper, how many hooks is up to you- Mattie's has 3, Jilly's has 5, and mine has 9)
one piece of scrapbook paper
mod podge
foam brush
sand paper
ruler/measuring tape

1. Sand your wood.  I hate, loathe, and despise sanding so I do the bare minimum.

2. Paint your wood- you really only need to paint the edges since that's all you see.

3. Cut your scrapbook paper into 2 strips.  Since Jilly's board was 3.5 inches wide, I cut my paper to be 3 inches so I'd have a 1/4 inch border at the top and bottom.

4. Paint your board with mod podge, lay the paper down, then cover the paper with a layer of mod podge.  You don't need two whole strips of paper, I glue one strip down, then line up the second strip and cut off what I don't need at the end.

5. Let the mod podge dry then measure where you want your hooks to go and make little marks.

6.  The drill is one of those things I have decided is husband-only territory (like the grill- I'm never going to learn how to use it so it's always his job, a nice break for me!) so I had Bryan drill small holes at my marks.  This makes it much easier to screw the hooks in. (This tip came from Lisa after I just about broke every single one of my fingers screwing those darn hooks in the first time.)

7.  Drill (or have someone drill for you) two holes in the back so you can hang it on a couple of nails.

8.  Screw in those hooks, hang it up, and add your jewelry/headbands/whatever else you think of!

^^ I'm not quite sure why I chose this paper, it didn't match our bedroom then, or now, nor will it ever.  Whatev



Yesterday was our first Sunday switching to the 9am church schedule.  It was AWESOME.  All day long I kept repeating "I love morning church, I just love morning church so much."  But let's back it up a little. 

Bryan had meetings starting at 6am (yikes!) and I was slightly panicked about getting the rest of us dressed and out the door on time.  On Saturday night I got our snacks ready, bags packed, and outfits all laid out.  When Bryan left at 6 I got in the shower because Jilly was already awake and I figured I'd get as ready as I could before Mattie woke up.  We powered through the morning getting dresses on, hair done, and breakfast.  When we were all ready to go I looked at the clock and it was only 8:00 - 45 minutes before we had to leave!  Apparently getting us all ready wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  So we played for a bit then when it was time to get in the car Jilly realized that her bracelet had fallen off somewhere (of course) so we spent many tear-filled minutes searching and finally had to make do with another one of her 52 bracelets.  After all that drama we barely made it to church on time.  (One day my future self that gets multiple kids up and ready for the day and to school before 9am will one day laugh at this paragraph- laugh on future Rachel.)
^^ all getting ready together

It was Jilly's first day in Primary, and she was so so excited to be a Sunbeam!  My friend said that when they sang the welcome song to her and the other sunbeams she stood up there posing with her hands on her hips and the biggest smile.  During the two hours I checked on her no less than 4 times, not because I was nervous but because I wanted to see how happy she was.  

We all thoroughly enjoyed our lazy Sunday afternoon- naps for everyone, reading, playing with toys, a yummy dinner, skyping with family, watching a movie, and Bryan and Jilly made cookies.  I'm a big fan of 2014 already.

And, with all my free time I took these lovelies of my lovelies


five on friday

1.  Jilly outed me this week while Bryan had the day off.  I was getting in the shower and she said, "Can I go to the store with you?"  I was confused and told her I wasn't going to the store and she said, "So then why are you taking a shower?"  Bryan thought it was hilarious.  So maybe I only shower when we're going out...

2.  Way back before Jillian was born I made a holder for all my necklaces.  Then sometime later I made a smaller one for Jilly to hold headbands, but it's now in Mattie's room.  Jilly has been begging me to make one for her room, and she desperately needed some jewelry organization so I finally got to it this week.  She loves it, and we think it's so fun for all the girls to be matching.

3.  I know this makes me sound a little grinchy but I could hardly wait to take down our Christmas tree and other decorations.  I now have an itch to clean and de-clutter every corner of our house.  I rarely feel this motivated to clean so I'm trying to get a lot done before I lose steam.

4.  Mattie's latest trick (besides crawling) is pulling herself up on evvvvverything.  She's delighted by her cleverness.

5.  My 28th birthday was on Sunday.  It was a very happy day full of messages from family and friends, presents, and chocolate pie.  I've never been a huge fan of having my birthday so close to Christmas, but this year I learned a reason to be grateful- the girls were still so excited about their new toys, they played happily all day.



We had a quiet New Year's at home, which was actually very nice.  On the morning of the 31st Jilly and I went to see Frozen.  She had already seen it with my sister, but I hadn't, and she had been wanting to see it again.  We both loved it.  I was in an indulgent mood and let her wear her Cinderella dress-up and glass slippers she got for Christmas and she was in heaven tapping around the mall after the movie.  

That night we finally used out fondue pot (that we got for our wedding 6.5 years ago) for cheese fondue.  It was good, but next time we'll definitely try chocolate fondue.  

 Mattie had a fancy dinner of cheerios and peach mango puree.

Around 8:00 we skyped with my family and celebrated the new year with Jilly.  We had filled a few balloons with confetti (pieces of construction paper I cut out with a hole punch) and had fun popping them over her.  We gave her a taste of sparkling cider (she thought it was gross) and put both girls to bed.  Bryan and I watched some movies and played games the rest of the night.  I may or may not have dozed for a bit but was awake at 12:00 to countdown, have some cider, and get my new year's kiss.

In the morning Bryan's parents came to visit.  We went on a little hike/walk and let Jilly play at the park.  Bryan and his dad also saw The Hobbit.  Then we just hung out at home eating homemade spring rolls, pepperoncini beef sandwiches, and lots of other snacky foods.

(One of my resolutions is to not let Jilly's hair look like this every day, one of hers is to not allow a comb within 2 feet of her body)

Mattie started the new year with a bang crawling the furthest she ever had before.  I posted her awkward little scoot on Instagram.  

We're happy to start a new year full of new adventures.